Art/Theater

Two plays, both running through Sunday, February 28, deal with the emotions that cultural identity stirs up, as well as culture versus stereotypes. BAD JEWS presented by Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed by Steve Vaughan, asks questions about Jewish identity while FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN presented by Paul Robeson Theatre, directed by Laverne Clay, presents a late-in-life friendship between boxer Muhammad Ali and Hollywood actor Steppin' Fetchit.

Just as three plays close this weekend - Irish Classical's ALL MY SONS, Subversive Theatre's  KEELY AND DU, and Second Generation's VANYA AND SONIA AND MASH AND SPIKE - we have four openings - Theatre in the Mist's ALICE IN WONDERLAND, Paul Robeson's FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN, Theatre of Youth's NUMBER THE STARS and Jewish Rep's BAD JEWS, about a family argument over who's more worthy of a family heirloom.

With all the interest in the revitalization of downtown Buffalo, home of "THE theater district," we sometimes forget about great theater in the suburbs, including Lancaster, where a family drama inspired by Chekhov is at the Lancaster Opera House.

WBFO file photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo's premier ballet company is about to make a major announcement.  WBFO's Eileen Buckley has learned that Neglia Ballet Artists is preparing a big change for its long-time ballet company and conservatory. The announcement will be made Thursday evening at the Tri-Main Building.

North Delta Duo Facebook page

The North Delta Duo is a new Buffalo Blues ensemble, headed to this week’s International Blues Challenge. WBFO Blues host Pat Feldballe talked with them about their upcoming journey and the music they make.

PIPPIN, the story of the knight in search of meaning and truth, comes to Shea's on Tuesday, January 26 and runs through Sunday, January 31. After the Buffalo tour, the great Priscilla Lopez (from the original A CHORUS LINE) will leave the show. Also on stage, John Rubinstein, the original Pippin, now takes on the role of King Charles (Charlemagne). So it's a chance to see "Broadway Royalty" but only for six days.

Theater (and movie) goers were saddened to hear of the passing of Brian Bedford, 80, a staple of Stratford; William Needles, the iron man of Canadian theater, 97; and Alan Rickman, 69, star of Broadway and Hollywood (Die Hard, Harry Potter).

For the holidays, Manhattan sparkles and Broadway adds extra shows. In Buffalo, theaters go dark for two to three weeks. But, starting tonight, live theater is back with the openings of END OF THE RAINBOW at the Kavinoky and OF MICE AND MEN at the Lancaster Opera House.

Why go to New York City for a Broadway show? Production values are the highest, you might see the "original" cast, and you might catch a star.


While Christmas in New York City is a time to add performances to the schedule, here in Western New York theaters shut down for the Christmas holiday. And so, locally, with the exception of IT WAS A WONDERFUL LIFE, this is your last weekend in 2015 to take in a Buffalo show.

Anthony Conte
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Anthony Conte, the president of Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, has announced his retirement.

A fixture in the Buffalo theater community, Michael Hake was the music director for dozens of productions and trouper that he was, wrapped up a performance of Musicalfare's PAGEANT and then passed away very quickly a few hours later from heart complications, surrounded by friends. He will be missed.

A number of plays and musicals were held over during Thanksgiving week so audiences have one final opportunity to see, for example, NORA at Torn Space Theatre, STOMPIN' AT THE SAVOY at the Paul Robeson Theatre, or BOTH YOUR HOUSES at the Kavinoky Theatre, all discussed on this week's Theater Talk.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Neglia Ballet Artists and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra kick off the holiday season Saturday evening at Shea's Buffalo with The Nutcracker. WBFO's Eileen Buckley says Neglia has invited two dancers from the American Ballet Theatre in New York City to dance in this holiday classic.

The month of November may end soon, but many local productions will be up through Sunday, December 6, so if your entertainment plans were curtailed by Thanksgiving "busy-ness" you still have time.

Opera Sacra

The curtain will fall this weekend on a 40-year theatrical enterprise that bills itself as the longest continually-producing opera company in Western New York.

Anthony visits The Big Apple and enjoys FIRST DAUGHTER SUITE by Western New York native son Michael John LaChiusa as well as ON YOUR FEET celebrating the careers of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. Laurie Metcalf (remember the TV show Roseanne?) is superb in MISERY.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

A homecoming of sorts gets underway at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery this weekend. A new exhibit titled "Monet and the Impressionist Revolution" opens to the public Sunday.

Nora's departure from her marriage at the end of 19th century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's A DOLL'S HOUSE marked the beginning of the modern age of theater, but apparently, 20th century Swedish director Ingmar Bergman felt that Ibsen didn't go far enough. Enter NORA which opened last night.

We have two musicals with somewhat different target audiences this week - PAGEANT: THE MUSICAL and MATILDA THE MUSICAL.

Two very intense 90 minute no-intermission dramas are gripping audiences this week, one at the Alleyway and one at Jewish Rep.

What is a "PLONY?" It's a Playwright Living Outside New York (City) and for a number of talented writers it's very difficult to establish a reputation outside of The Big Apple.

bpo.org

He is best recognized as George Costanza, the quirky, bald sad sack from the hit television sitcom Seinfeld. But long before staring on TV, Jason Alexander was acting, dancing and singing on Broadway. The Tony-Award winning star will be in Buffalo Saturday night to perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. WBFO's Eileen Buckley spoke with Alexander about his show and his ties to Western New York.


fun4kidsinbuffalo.com

As Halloween approaches, Theatre of Youth presents THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW where all the kids in the audience want to know "is there anybody in the coffin?"

Buffalo International Film Festival returns this weekend

Oct 15, 2015

A mix of locally- and internationally-produced films are on the schedule as the ninth annual Buffalo International Film Festival gets underway, beginning with cocktails and a memorial honoring its late founder Thursday evening.

buffalo.com

As Buffalo continues its growth spurt, or renaissance, and property values rise, some smaller theaters are feeling squeezed. Four of them have had to find new venues, including A.R.T., B.U.A., Road Less Travelled, and Rust Belt Books, which is now at 415 Grant Street.

Alleyway Theatre

Broadway is Broadway, sure, but if "the play's the thing," well you can have a pretty good time here in Buffalo. Anthony and Peter both thoroughly enjoyed IN THE HEIGHTS at Musicalfare and NEWSIES at Shea's. But those are only two.

Broadway and television star Cheyenne Jackson will appear Saturday evening with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for its Pops Series at Kleinhans Music Hall.  Jackson will performing 'Music of the Mad Men Era'.  WBFO's Eileen Buckley had a chance to speak with Jackson ahead of his  Buffalo visit where reveals his love for music of the late 50's and 60's. 

Buffalo Humanities Festival

Don't Americans love a story of the little guy talking truth to power? How about lots of little guys - knee high kids hawking newspapers on the street - striking in 1899 to bring two publishing giants - Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst - to their knees.  The Disney Broadway musical opens Tuesday at Shea's.

All across Western New York our theaters begin their 2015-2016 season with a flourish at the annual Curtain Up!

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